What started as a year to forget is starting to become one to remember for Jason Watson, after Quadrilateral provided him with his first domestic Group One winner in the bet365 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket.
Missing the first two and a half months of the year following a fall at Kempton in January which left him with two hairline fractures in his neck, last year’s champion apprentice has quickly made up for lost time in his role with Roger Charlton.
After tasting top-level success aboard Aspetar for his new boss in Germany last month, the teenage rider strengthened his bond with the Beckhampton trainer as the daughter of Frankel maintained her unbeaten record on her toughest test to date.
Watson, 19, said: “I was extremely lucky in January not to have a career-ending injury.
“I can only thank Oaksey House for getting me back to full health and to the guv’nor and all of his owners for giving me the opportunity to get back properly and strengthen. I’ve just been lucky to walk into the hands of some talented horses.
“It’s still a big fairytale for me. I can’t believe it really. I’m only 19 and I’ve not experienced a lot yet and I’ve not ridden in many Group One races in England.
“Group Ones in this country are amazing and to win one in my first year for the guv’nor is unbelievable. It’s still not hit me yet what has happened today. I’m sure I will wake up tomorrow and feel different.”
Victory looked unlikely at one stage, with the pair seemingly held approaching the final quarter of a mile, before ultimately powering home up the far rail to beat Powerful Breeze by a head.
Watson said: “It’s definitely a working partnership and she definitely got me out of trouble there.
“I decided to angle in towards the rail, but she is very tough. It’s the first time she has had a proper race and she was in amongst them today. They went a good gallop and she had to tough it out, but she did nothing but impress the whole way.
“She could have quite easily lost confidence halfway through the race, but her whole attitude and demeanour is extremely professional and one to admire.”
Even at his tender years, Watson has achieved more than many of his weighing-room colleagues and he could be celebrating another landmark moment back at the Rowley Mile in May should Quadrilateral maintain her progression and go on to glory in the Qipco 1000 Guineas.
He added: “She does for sure give me the feel that she will do something quite special.
“The last day at Newbury I think I reported I was not aware how far clear she was. She didn’t feel like she was doing a lot in front through greenness. Today was a massive step up and she coped with it well.
“I’ve never ridden in a Guineas before, so it is hard to say what you are looking for, but you can only be impressed with what she has done so far.”